JAPAN | Expert: Risks remain at Fukushima Daiichi plant

Posted on July 20, 2011

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JAPAN | NHK | 20 July 2011

An expert says that radiation could be released from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in about 2 and half days if the injection of cooling water into reactors is halted for any reason.

Masanori Naito, director in charge of nuclear safety analysis at the Institute of Applied Energy, was speaking to NHK about the revised plan to bring the troubled plant under control. The Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant’s operator, announced the plan on Tuesday.

The government and TEPCO said in a joint assessment that the target of the first stage of the original plan —- to steadily reduce the level of radiation being released from the plant —- has been met over the past 3 months.

They said the amount of radioactive substances spewing from the No.1 to No.3 reactors has been cut to one 2-millionth of the peak recorded just after the nuclear accident in March.

The effort to stabilize the nuclear facility now shifts to the second stage, when workers will focus on further cutting the release of radioactive substances over the next 6 months. Emphasis will be on reactor cooling systems that recycle contaminated water. The goal is to achieve cold shutdown by reducing reactor water temperatures to below 100 degrees Celsius.

Naito says nuclear fuel levels at the plant have dropped below one-tenth of what they were immediately after the accident, but warns of remaining risks.

He says the government and TEPCO should explain these risks to nearby residents and whether the existing measures will be sufficient.

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Posted in: JAPAN